Special schools turned in to emergency childcare specialist hubs
Two special schools are being turned in to emergency childcare specialist hubs, a council has said.
Ysgol Cedewain in Newtown and Ysgol Penmaes in Brecon will operate as specialist hubs from today to help support critical and key workers whose children usually attend special schools or pupil referral units.
Both will operate from Monday to Friday, during normal school hours.
Powys County Council has already established emergency childcare hubs at 13 school sites across the county. The hubs became operational on Friday, March 27 and will be open seven days a week from 8am to 6pm.
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Councillor Phyl Davies, the authority's cabinet member for education and property, said: "The advice from the UK and Welsh governments to parents is very clear – if your children can stay safely in their home, they should.
"However, we are providing emergency childcare provision for children of critical/ key workers through a number of hubs located in Powys schools.
"Our hub network has expanded to included two of our special school sites. This will ensure that our most vulnerable children are cared for safely while critical / key workers support the Covid-19 efforts."
A cap will be in place on the number of pupils attending each day, to ensure that there are enough appropriately qualified staff on site as well as enough space for children, in line with government guidelines.
"Our special school and pupil referral unit headteachers will determine which children will require access the specialist hubs. This will be done one a priority basis and dependent on available staff and we will update parents, carers and our children's services team as required," said Councillor Davies.
"If necessary, a weekly rota system could be developed for families so that more children have access to the specialist hubs over time. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our families as we make these arrangements.
"For those pupils who are not attending the specialist hubs, the special schools and pupil referral units will continue to keep in regular contact with the families and will provide learning opportunities for the pupils while they are at home."
The council said it will work closely with special schools and pupil referral units and regularly review the situation in order to make sure that the best possible support for the most vulnerable young people in the county can be provided.
"I want to thank all professionals at all our schools for their commitment during this extremely difficult period," added Councillor Davies.
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